The National Park Service will remove most of the tall fencing surrounding Lafayette Square by Wednesday, according to a Washington Post report on Tuesday.
Early last week, Lafayette Square was closed off to the public shortly after federal police forcibly removed peaceful protesters right outside the White House ahead of President Trump’s surprise photo-op in front of nearby St. John’s Episcopal Church.
The fencing has become a makeshift memorial paying tribute to George Floyd as protests in the wake of his death continue. Protesters plastered the fencing with posters, names and paintings of black people who died from police brutality.
A National Park Service spokesperson told the Post that fencing will stay in place in areas that suffered damage during protests and areas that pose safety hazard risks. The agency did not immediately respond to TPM’s request for comment.
The National Park Service’s removal of the fencing surrounding Lafayette Square comes on the heels of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) demanding in a letter to the President on Monday to “immediately reopen” Lafayette Square. In the letter, Pelosi and Schumer called Trump out for the “deeply offensive action” of using tear gas on protesters to make way for his “regrettable political stunt” in front of the church that same evening.
On Sunday, Trump announced that the National Guard will begin withdrawing from Washington, D.C., claiming that “everything is under perfect control.” The President issued his announcement after his fiery spat with D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser over the weekend for her request to withdraw “all extraordinary federal law enforcement and military presence” from the district.